Columbia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
As an employee who was injured on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation regardless of who was at fault for the accident, illness, or overuse injury. Under South Carolina law, your employer must provide wage replacement benefits and full medical coverage for virtually any injury or illness caused at work. However, securing these important benefits is easier said than done. Employers and their insurance carriers almost always put up a fight. Columbia workers’ compensation attorney Marc Brown has assisted countless injured workers in filing workers’ compensation claims, appealing denials, and advocating for clients in the courtroom in order to obtain fair compensation. Our legal team is here to help you in your time of need.
Workers’ Compensation Explained
In an effort to keep workers safe, free up the court system (and provide financial security for employers), all states, including South Carolina, have each implemented workers’ compensation laws, starting back at the beginning of the 20th century. While employers potentially benefit the most from workers’ compensation due to the fact that employees largely give up their right to sue for full damages, employees also greatly benefit from workers’ comp, which pays for:
- Partial wage replacement of two-thirds the employee’s average weekly wages
- Full medical care
- Vocational training
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that all employees pay into. Once you are hired by an employer who employs four or more employees, you are automatically covered by workers’ compensation. Any injuries caused on the job, such as a slip and fall, and any injuries or conditions that can be proven were a result of your work (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), are covered by workers’ compensation.
What Types of Injuries Are Not Covered?
Workers’ compensation does not cover accidents at work caused:
- Intentionally by the worker
- In the act of “horseplay”
- When the employee was intoxicated or high
Typical employer excuses for denying a workers’ comp claim include arguing that:
- The injury occurred off the job
- The injury is a pre-existing condition
- The injury is being exaggerated
- The employee is not actually injured at all
As a rule of thumb, many employers fight claims in order to keep their insurance premiums low, just as insurance companies deny claims in order to keep their own profit margins high. Because of these dirty tactics used by both employers and their insurance carriers, you need to work with a skilled Columbia workers’ compensation attorney in order to be fully, fairly, and promptly compensated for your work-related injuries.
What Can I Receive in a Columbia Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Injured workers are entitled to partial wage replacement while they are out of work due to disability, as well as full medical coverage. They may also be able to receive vocational or educational training if they are incapable of returning to their previous occupation due to permanent disability. In terms of wage replacement, you can receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages if you are totally disabled due to injury (for the total amount of time you are totally disabled, whether that is two months or permanently). When it comes to calculating wage replacement if you are only partially disabled, the following method is used: subtracting two-thirds of your current wages (while you are on light duty) from your average weekly wages before the accident.
Do I Have to Prove Fault in a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance, available for virtually all South Carolina employees. As such, it is not necessary to prove fault in a workers’ comp claim. The accident could have been caused by your own inattention, a co-worker’s negligence, or your employer’s reckless rule breaking and you will still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
The Difference Between a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Claim
Workers’ comp benefits differ from the compensation you would receive in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. First of all, a personal injury claim requires that you prove fault. Secondly, it is very difficult to prove the degree of liability necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. To be successful in a personal injury claim against your employer, you must go beyond proving mere carelessness and establish wanton disregard for your safety, which is difficult to do. You can, however, file a personal injury claim against a third party (such as a property owner) while only proving carelessness. In terms of the compensation differences between workers’ comp and a personal injury claim, a personal injury claim allows you to recover full lost wages, pain and suffering, future lost earnings, and other more substantial losses such as emotional distress.
Call a Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you were injured on the job, you should not have to pay a dime when it comes to medical care, rehabilitation, or vocational training. Moreover, you should also be able to receive wage compensation for the duration of your injury, regardless of fault. Workers’ compensation is reserved for virtually all South Carolina employees, despite what your employer may have told you about your specific circumstances. To learn more about your rights as an injured worker and how to file a workers’ comp claim, Columbia workers’ compensation attorney Marc Brown is here to answer your questions and help you get started.